Convocation, literally a "calling together" of the College community, celebrates the formal opening of the academic year, welcomes new students to the College and recognizes the new senior class. Traditionally held on the first day of classes, the ceremony highlights some of the College's most important values: academic excellence, the Honor Code and the importance of community.
The campus community gathered Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, for Convocation. Bagpipers called the campus community to Palmer Auditorium beginning at 4:10 p.m. and the ceremony began promptly at 4:30 p.m.
The keynote speaker was noted civil rights lawyer Debo P. Adegbile '91, the acting president and director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He spoke about the closely watched case on affirmative action in higher education that's expected to be heard by the Supreme Court later this fall.
Immediately following Convocation, the campus community gathered on Tempel Green for an all-campus picnic and a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the grand opening of the College's new Science Center at New London Hall.
Convocation reinforces new students' commitment to the Honor Code and provides an opportunity for other members of the College community to renew their pledge to live according to the principles embodied by the Code. All students are asked to repeat this pledge, which governs all behavior and interactions at the College.
The ceremony also included the formal presentation of the entering class's banner. Each year, the Alumni Association bestows on the incoming class a banner bearing the students' expected graduation year. Each class banner is created in one of four color schemes: green and gray, blue and buff, purple and gold, and red and white. The colors follow in sequence so all four are always represented in the current student body. The banners are displayed at formal occasions during the students' four years and then later at reunion celebrations. The presentation of the banner symbolizes the shared community of alumni present and future.